Posted in Books

Feminist YA Books for Women’s History Month

Happy Thursday, bibliophiles!

I meant to post this earlier in the month, but, alas, school. But hey – March isn’t over yet, is it? And here in the U.S., March is Women’s History Month! So for the occasion, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite YA novels with feminist themes not just for March, but for all year round, because we should all be uplifting the voices of women every day of every year.

Let’s begin, shall we?

Celebrate Women's History Month with Talenthouse

FEMINIST YA BOOKS FOR WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH

Once & Future, A.R. Capetta and Cori McCarthy

Once & Future: Amy Rose Capetta, Cori McCarthy: 9781786076540: Amazon.com:  Books

GENRES: Sci-fi, romance, LGBTQ+, retellings

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I mean, how could the premise of an Arthurian retelling where the reincarnation of King Arthur is a POC, pansexual woman not hook you? Plus, lots of dismantling imperialism, sword fights, and an almost entirely queer cast.

Moxie, Jennifer Mathieu

Amazon.com: Moxie: A Novel (9781626726352): Mathieu, Jennifer: Books

GENRES: Contemporary, fiction, romance

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Can I rant for a minute? I loved this book to death, but the Netflix adaptation of it looks AWFUL. I watched the trailer, and it looks like it COMPLETELY misconstrued the message of the book. The movie makes feminism look like a joke; in the book, Viv was already conscious of the toxic environment of her high school, but in the movie, they (unintentionally?) painted feminism as something that was “trendy” or “what the kids are into.” (In the beginning of the trailer, Viv magically has this feminist awakening from seeing her mom’s old Riot Grrl pictures…) Also in the trailer, she only starts to notice the rampant sexism in her high school AFTER SOMEBODY TELLS HER…

[fumes] okay I’ll stop now but Y I K E S

just stick to the book, okay?

How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse, K. Eason

Amazon.com: How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse: Book One of the Thorne  Chronicles eBook: Eason, K.: Kindle Store

GENRES: Sci-fi, fantasy

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Okay, I know this has been shelved as both adult and YA, but…hey, Rory’s 15 for most of the book, so I think I can slip it in this post. Plus, what’s not to love about disobedient, patriarchy-smashing princesses in space?

Sawkill Girls, Claire Legrand

Amazon.com: Sawkill Girls (9780062696601): Legrand, Claire: Books

GENRES: Horror, paranormal, fantasy, LGBTQ+

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Claire Legrand was a hit-or-miss author for me up until I read this one, but Sawkill Girls is such a powerful novel, both in its paranormal intensity and its resonant themes of sisterhood.

Girls of Paper and Fire, Natasha Ngan

Girls of Paper and Fire (Girls of Paper and Fire Series #1) by Natasha  Ngan, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

GENRES: High fantasy, romance, LGBTQ+

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

As disappointing as the sequel was, Girls of Paper and Fire still remains a book that stunned me like no other. A powerful tale of rebelling against oppression and corruption – and some lovely forbidden romance!

The Black Coats, Colleen Oakes

Amazon.com: The Black Coats (9780062679628): Oakes, Colleen: Books

GENRES: Contemporary, fiction, mystery, romance

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.25

A super twisty and inventive novel with plenty of morally grey characters and secret societies. Plus, it raises some great points about vigilante justice. And there’s nothing better than getting back at misogynists and rapists, right?

The Sound of Stars, Alechia Dow

Amazon.com: The Sound of Stars (9781335911551): Dow, Alechia: Books

GENRES: Sci-fi, dystopian, LGBTQ+, romance

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Every time I look back at this book, I think something along the lines of “man, I’m so glad I bought this.” Secret libraries, alien invasion, quality music references, cross-country road trips, and more than a little bit of resistance. Very nearly flawless!

Music from Another World, Robin Talley

Amazon.com: Music from Another World (9781335146779): Talley, Robin: Books

GENRES: Historical fiction, romance, LGBTQ+

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A beautiful romance set against the backdrop of protest and resisting homophobia in 1977 San Francisco. There’s lovely representation for both lesbian and bisexual characters, and it’s such a tender and resonant read!

TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK! Have you read any of these novels, and if so, did you like them? What are your favorite feminist YA reads?

Women's History Month

And while I’m at it, might I direct you all to the Women’s History Book Tag? It was created by Margaret @ Weird Zeal, and I had such a blast doing it last March, and I figured I should direct it to your attention. 🙂

Today’s song:

The way this song reminds me of the very beginning of quarantine now –

That’s it for this post! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday (10/26/20)–Anna Dressed in Blood

Happy Monday, bibliophiles!

Considering that I’m in school, this post is coming a LOT earlier in the day than it normally would–and that’s because I’m out of school for a snow day today! REJOICE! Just what I needed. Even though it’s close to Halloween, it definitely looks like a winter wonderland outside my window. Oh, and it’s a balmy…6 degrees Fahrenheit outside. (Welcome to Colorado…)

THE EASTER BUNNY ~ Rise of the Guardians, 2012 gif | Rise of the guardians,  Dark jack frost, Bunny

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme created by Lauren’s Page Turners. All you have to do to participate is pick a book from your Goodreads TBR, and explain why you want to read it.

For my final spooky season Goodreads Monday of 2020, I’ve picked a book that I wouldn’t normally pick up–the plot sounds great, but it was ultimately the author that convinced me to read it.

Let’s begin, shall we?

GOODREADS MONDAY (10/26/20)–ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD by Kendare Blake

Amazon.com: Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna, Book 1) (Anna Dressed in Blood  Series, 1) (9780765328670): Blake, Kendare: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. They follow legends and local lore, destroy the murderous dead, and keep pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

Searching for a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas expects the usual: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

Yet she spares Cas’s life.

So why do I want to read this?

walk white dress horror movie gif horror gif girl gif dark gif walk gif  feet gif old bridge vidaentrepesadillas •

Two words (or, one name, rather): Kendare Blake.

Her Three Dark Crowns series remains one of my favorite fantasy series to this day. The action, the worldbuilding, the tense political intrigue, the…the everything, really. Blake made me fall in love with fantasy again. I liked Antigoddess as well.

As most of you probably know, I’m not usually one to pick up horror, but I can dabble in that kind of spookiness from time to time. I am, however, drawn to books centered around unusual, fantasy-related family businesses like Cas’s. There’s so much potential for backstory and dark humor with that, and that’s the main reason why Anna has me hooked.

In short: I came for the Kendare Blake, I stayed for the possibility of paranormal intrigue.

Thats Promising GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

Today’s song:

That’s it for this week’s Goodreads Monday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Books, Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday (10/19/20)–Ghost Wood Song

Happy Monday, bibliophiles!

Before I begin, thank you so much for 300 followers! Thank you so much for sticking around, tagging me in things, and spreading the word and the bookish love 💗

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme created by Lauren’s Page Turners. All you have to do to participate is pick a book from your Goodreads TBR, and explain why you want to read it.

I’m back with another paranormal read for this fine spooky season. This one just came out this July, and all it took for me to put it on my TBR was the comparison to Sawkill Girls in the description. (Again–I’m a woman of simple tastes 🤣)

Let’s begin, shall we?

GOODREADS MONDAY (10/19/20)–GHOST WOOD SONG by Erica Waters

Amazon.com: Ghost Wood Song (9780062894229): Waters, Erica: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

Sawkill Girls meets Beautiful Creatures in this lush and eerie debut, where the boundary between reality and nightmares is as thin as the veil between the living and the dead.

If I could have a fiddle made of Daddy’s bones, I’d play it. I’d learn all the secrets he kept.

Shady Grove inherited her father’s ability to call ghosts from the grave with his fiddle, but she also knows the fiddle’s tunes bring nothing but trouble and darkness.

But when her brother is accused of murder, she can’t let the dead keep their secrets.

In order to clear his name, she’s going to have to make those ghosts sing.

Family secrets, a gorgeously resonant LGBTQ love triangle, and just the right amount of creepiness make this young adult debut a haunting and hopeful story about facing everything that haunts us in the dark.

So why do I want to read this?

number seven, ellen page, the white violin and gif - image #6945843 on  Favim.com

Ooo, hornets and pythons on the cover? Could’ve put this one on last week’s Top 5 Saturday…

There’s only one thing that I love more than a good paranormal story…and that’s an LGBTQ+ paranormal story! I just checked, and Erica Waters has confirmed that the protagonist is bisexual, and there are two lesbian characters as well!

In the description, there’s several common YA tropes that I spotted (a YA heroine with an [ahem] interesting name and a love triangle), but at least Ghost Wood Song sounds like it at least puts a fresh twist on some of them. I may despise love triangles, but hey, this one isn’t where the two love interests are two white boys that are identical in everything but hair/eye color and personality. So I think it’ll do me some good to stick around.

Also, I love the connection to music! The premise of calling the departed from their graves with the power of music is such an inventive idea, and I have my fingers tightly crossed that Waters will execute it well.

All in all–bi protagonist and spooky vibes? Say no more.

White Light – a poem – Fallen Angel On the Run

Today’s song:

I’ve been thinking about this song quite a lot in the past few weeks…

I always make playlists for my WIPs, but this one’s snaked its way into the outline for the story I’m working on for NaNoWriMo. Desperately hoping to channel some weird, Legion-esque vibes for a certain scene to channel this kind of energy…

That’s it for this week’s Goodreads Monday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Books, Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday (10/12/20)–Kingdom of Souls

Happy Monday, bibliophiles!

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme created by Lauren’s Page Turners. All you have to do to participate is pick a book from your Goodreads TBR, and explain why you want to read it.

Continuing the theme of paranormal and horror novels for this lovely spooky season, here’s one that I’ve been meaning to read for a good year and a half. It seems to have gotten quite a lot of hype last year, and it looks fascinating! I don’t see many books that deal with witch doctors, and Kingdom of Souls looks amazing!

Let’s begin, shall we?

GOODREADS MONDAY (10/12/20)–KINGDOM OF SOULS by Rena Barron

Amazon.com: Kingdom of Souls (9780062870957): Barron, Rena: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

Magic has a price—if you’re willing to pay.

Born into a family of powerful witchdoctors, Arrah yearns for magic of her own. But each year she fails to call forth her ancestral powers, while her ambitious mother watches with growing disapproval.

There’s only one thing Arrah hasn’t tried, a deadly last resort: trading years of her own life for scraps of magic. Until the Kingdom’s children begin to disappear, and Arrah is desperate to find the culprit.

She uncovers something worse. The long-imprisoned Demon King is stirring. And if he rises, his hunger for souls will bring the world to its knees… unless Arrah pays the price for the magic to stop him. 

So why do I want to read this?

Soul GIFs | Tenor

Okay, first off, can we talk about the cover? No, coverS–plural–THEY ALL LOOK GORGEOUS. And the typeface on this cover…I JUST…AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH

It's so beautiful - GIF - Imgur

[ahem] anyway…

Now, for the actual plot…I mean, COME ON, what’s not to love? Witch doctors, demons, POC rep, and impending paranormal doom? Of COURSE you have my attention! I also like the idea of a reverse Chosen One, if that makes any sense; instead of showing [ominous thunderclaps] Great Power™️ at a young age and being destined from birth to save the world and all that, we have a more relatable character who struggles to make her magic surface. I really wish we had more books like this–not only is it a bit more relatable (for me, at least), but it also makes for some great character development, if handled in the right way.

In short–I’m so glad I dug this up from my TBR. Excuse me while I see if it’s available at the library…

Bill Murray Christmas Movies GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Today’s song:

That’s it for this week’s Goodreads Monday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in ARC Reviews, Books

eARC Review: All Our Hidden Gifts

Happy Wednesday, bibliophiles!

I don’t usually read seasonally (unless it’s Spooky Season, of course), and that wasn’t the reason that I requested this eARC, but I’m happy to say that All Our Hidden Gifts was a delightful read that’s perfect for this time of year! Though it wasn’t without its flaws, it was a sweet mix of paranormal fantasy, horror, and contemporary fiction.

Enjoy this eARC review!

All Our Hidden Gifts by Caroline O'Donoghue

All Our Hidden Gifts–Caroline O’Donoghue

Maeve’s sentenced to cleaning out the closet for her in-school suspension, but she soon learns that the job might not be as boring as she thought it was.

When mysterious tarot deck turns up the closet, Maeve pockets it, learning everything she can about it so that she can put her cards to good use. Her readings soon become the talk of her Catholic school, and soon, she has customers lining up outside of the closet. But after Lily, her former best friend, draws an unknown card, she disappears days later, causing a commotion in their tight-knit community. With the help of Lily’s sibling Roe, Maeve must find the secret of this mysterious Housekeeper card before its repercussions spread beyond Lily’s disappearance.

Art Magic GIF by littlekingdoms - Find & Share on GIPHY

Thank you to Edelweiss+ and Walker Book US/Candlewick Press for sending me this eARC in exchange for an honest review!

All Our Hidden Gifts had the feel of an 2000’s horror movie for a teen audience, but in the best way possible. There’s paranormal and high school drama in equal amounts, but O’Donoghue balances out both genres for a paranormal tale that teens are sure to love.

Let’s start off with my biggest complaint. I found the pacing to be rather inconsistent, especially when compared to the synopsis on Goodreads and elsewhere. The storyline with the tarot cards turned out to have less of the spotlight than I thought, and it seemed to go far too quickly–most of it was over by the time that I’d gotten a third of the way through the novel. However, the other story elements were enough to keep the novel afloat for the remainder, so it didn’t bog down the story as much as I thought it would.

Other than that, I don’t have too many complaints. O’Donoghue’s writing was fresh and cinematic, with all manner of fascinating twists and tense scenes. Even if you’re not familiar with the tarot, the story is gripping and the perfect kind of spooky, paranormal fun that you’d want to channel right around Halloween.

I didn’t get attached to most of the characters, but they were absolutely authentic; weirdly enough, I connected a lot with Lily, even though she wasn’t present for most of the novel. There’s also a lot of LGBTQ+/POC-friendly elements to the novel, most notably in Roe, who is genderfluid. So kudos for O’Donoghue for that! There’s also a prominent Filipina character as well.

All in all, All Our Hidden Gifts lacked a bit in pacing and lovable characters, but made up for some of it with a timeless blend of paranormal fun. 3.5 stars!

pendulum gif | Tumblr

Expected release date: March 30, 2021

Today’s song:

That’s it for this eARC review! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in ARC Reviews, Books

eARC Review: Dreamwalkers

Happy Friday, bibliophiles!

Now that I’ve been on Edelweiss for a little longer now, I’m starting to request and receive more eARCs. Of course, I’ve gotten declined…[ahem] several times (I found out that I got declined 4 all at once yesterday, whee…), but I have a couple more that I’ll be reviewing soon.

Me going on Edelweiss yesterday and seeing the line of declined eARCs on my homepage

I hadn’t heard of this novel before Edelweiss, and it sounded fascinating. Not only did it seem an interesting blend of the paranormal and an almost slice-of-life story in New Mexico, it features mostly Native American characters, who, even though YA has made great leaps in terms of diversity, I still don’t often see in literature today. Though it had some slips and falls, Dreamwalkers was ultimately a decent and fun novel.

Enjoy this review!

Dreamwalkers - Leslie Rush - Pre-Order - Filles Vertes Publishing, LLC

Dreamwalkers–Leslie Rush

Vivian Night Hawk leads a quiet life in New Mexico, juggling her job at her mother’s shop and taking care of her genius little brother Brian. But when she inherits a jacket that belonged to her father, who went M.I.A. when she was young, she discovers a hidden ability–the ability to dream-walk, and control and traverse through her dreams and the dreams of others.

Vivian’s newfound power comes with a price–a newcomer to her quiet, New Mexico town may not be who he says he is, and her brother, targeted for his unusual intellect, may be in grave danger. Will she be able to save her brother before her world becomes a nightmare?

Inception (2010) — Interiors : An Online Publication about ...

Thank you to Edelweiss+ and Filles Vertes Publishing for giving me this eARC in exchange for an honest review!

Overall, Dreamwalkers, though it certainly wasn’t without its flaws, was an interesting novel! Sort of a Stranger Things meets Inception kind of deal, and for the most part, it was fairly well-executed.

Dreamwalkers had all of the interesting elements of a paranormal sci-fi story: strange abilities, secret government programs, a bit of romance, and not to mention, a genius/comic relief sibling. Such intrigue was my favorite part of the novel–though some of it was predictable from the start, it was perfect, paranormal fun.

That being said, I felt like Rush might have played it a little safe in terms of the dreamwalking aspect of the story. There’s infinite possibilities with controlling/traveling in other people’s dreams, but the book didn’t stray quite beyond sort of normal dreams, and resurfaced childhood memories.

Additionally I wasn’t a huge fan of the writing or the dialogue. Though it had its moments of being funny/well-written, I didn’t get attached to many of the characters, and as a result, I wasn’t as invested in the story. Most of the writing was similarly flat, and at times, a bit cliched. The sibling banter between Vivian and Brian was funny, at least, and I thought Brian was kind of adorable, but other than that, those aspects were a bit weaker.

Overall, a decent paranormal novel with great Native American representation and an interesting set of concepts, but that fell flat in a few places. 3 stars!

Release date: October 6, 2020

Today’s song:

(This one gives me some serious nostalgia…)

That’s it for this eARC review! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!